Why I love the Panasonic Lumix LX5

The very capable lens of the LX5 has captured a wonderfully sharp and detailed image. Printing at 254dpi I can create an excellent 30″ x 22.5″ print from this file.

I haven’t been posting too much over the past couple of weeks. To be totally honest my time has been going into the new Nik Viveza book I have been writing for the Kindle. I have however been asked a question and I feel compelled to answer even though time is short at the moment. The question is “what’s so special about the LX5, after all it’s only a compact camera”.

I thought I would respond by listing my key likes here (this is only a limited list):

  • The exceptionally sharp lens – the lens is fantastic and can resolve a great deal of detail in the images captured. If you are shooting in JPG, a lot of the detail can be lost as the noise reduction tends to be a little too aggressive and the sharpening not quite sufficient. Images captured in RAW format are however a completely different proposition and you can pull so much detail and sharpness from the files.
  • The fast aperture – this allows you to shoot in low light conditions that would make you pack up your DSLR. You can handhold indoors with acceptable shutter speeds even at relatively low ISO. The LX5 can’t compete with larger sensor cameras in terms of noise but the fast aperture means you can usually keep the ISO low. Even wide open at f/2.0 the lens produces excellent results.
  • RAW Capture – Capturing your images in RAW is essential if you want to create a high quality image. The LX5 only has a 10Mpixel count but when used correctly you can produce a superb A3+ print. By shooting in RAW you can apply the correct level of noise reduction, sharpening and enjoy a much higher dynamic range than with JPG files.
  • Great Depth of Field – whilst the small sensor in comparison with a DSLR (the sensor is actually larger than with many other compacts) and therefore has higher levels of noise, this also gives the camera a greater depth of field at wide apertures. You might be able to shoot at f/2.0 with your DSLR but can you get everything in sharp focus? With a correctly composed scene you may well be able to with the LX5.
  • Design – The design of this camera is to my mind perfect. It fits in my hand and my pocket. It’s easy to use and the menus are intuitive. Most of the features I need to access in a hurry are buttons on the camera.
  • Great Macro – I can switch the lens to Macro mode and get great close-ups. If I want to do that with an SLR I need additional equipment.

Whilst the LX5 might be a little long in the tooth now, its replacement the LX7 is very similar and has many of the same features. It does address some of the LX5’s weaknesses but it would take a considerable improvement for me to feel the need to make the switch. If you are considering getting a quality compact then I can recommend the LX5 whole heartedly and you can pick them up at bargain prices currently.

22 thoughts on “Why I love the Panasonic Lumix LX5

  1. I agree with all of the points you made above. Just one thing, though. The photo caption says you’re making 30″ prints at 254dpi. That would require a file roughly 43 megapixels, more than 4 times the LX5’s native capture.

    1. Yes, thats correct. If you produce a sufficiently high quality exposure and conversion from RAW this size of image is entirely possible. In case you are wondering why 254dpi, its the recomended resolution for a print of this size with Peak Imaging who i use for large prints. I scale to 300 dpi if printing at A3+. Happy to answer any further questions.

  2. Being a LX5 user I have to totally agree with what Robin has stated. It is a marvelous little camera & on occasions has produced for me images that are capable to those taken with my Canon 5DMk2. If I put two images taken of the same scene with both cameras along side each other most persons would not be able to tell which is which.

  3. DSLR camera are bulky and I can’t wait to have this compact camera. I think my wife would love this one.

    1. Its a great little camera and Im sure your wife would love it. When I speak at camera clubs most of the men have DSLRs and wont trust a compact. The women however are more interested in creating great images than getting hung up on image quality. They really embrace the compact camera. Hope you enjoy the LX5.

  4. I have a LX7, which I love, but if you’re considering something in between a P&S and a DSLR, think about Panasonic’s line of mirrorless camera’s. I just purchased a GX1 which I can’t wait to get into my hot little hands. The one thing that I’m really excited about is the ability to take discreet photos in the street. I know the LX7 is small but once it powers on and the lens slides out, it’s obvious you’re taking photos. With the GX1 and a pancake lens, no one will be able to tell whether the camera is on or not. I like that.

  5. It was interesting reading your views on LX-5. I have two of these(One out of sheer madness for Equipment) besides all my NIKON Full Frame heavy gear. I admit this Camera has shocked my with with its Quality and Contrast besides sharpness. I used this most of the time in my recent US trip while my heavy gear was resting in my Hotel Bed. It still has a small Sensor but the combination of the Camera, Lens and the Processor makes the difference. You may view a few Images shot with this last year in US in my website http://www.photo.net/photos/ravishankar under the USA Folder. Sorry, you may have to fiddle with the EXIF Data to search the ones with LUMIX but there are not many.

    1. It’s good to hear that people are coming around to the potential of these pocket cameras. I particularly like your colours on the seal image. The LX5 seems to have produced very natural colours. This is an area of weakness for it at times.

  6. Loved the LX3 but mine died. Great camera I had for personal photography. I have filters, batteries, charger, car charger, lens shade and a few other items for grabs if anyone wants them. Hate to take them to the e-cycle site. Camera too if is any good for parts

      1. I enjoyed working with the LX3. Great quality. I have made some beautiful 16x20s and have a book of my LX3 photography self published. I do a lot of street photography, and I liked the fact that I never “looked” like a photographer with that camera. I won’t buy another for the time being. I have a lot of professional requirements for which I need my Canon

      2. The Lumix LX series are great cameras. They seemed to get it just right and I agree that it’s good not to look like a photographer, especially for Street Work. Hope you sort something out with Paul.

  7. Great review/blog- entry. Highly recommend the EVF, it’s on sale at Amazon.com; make the camera feel like a Leica rangefinder but with no parallax error!

      1. I have the LX5 also. Do you use the optional EVF. I have one for the LX5 and the Panasonic GF1. Both great cameras.

      2. Hi Jim,

        I did gave the viewfinder which I used for both the LX5 and the GF1 but I sold it when I sold the LX5. Now that I have the LX7 I can use the EVF from my GX1. It’s quite a nice EVF and has a great feel when used with both cameras. I particularly like the feel of the GX1 with the EVF and a 14mm prime lens.

  8. Very nice article, thank you!
    I got an LX7 (with the EVF because it reminded me of an old Leica rangefinder!!). I photographed a company any event, with it, by adding a simple remote flash trigger and my big Speedlite held off camera. I shot RAW.
    The camera gave me such good photos that they were:
    – printed in the Year Book
    – shown on the company website
    – downloaded by many people

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